France match-winner Antoine Griezmann has revealed that a half-time dressing down behind the scenes helped Les Bleus come from behind to beat Republic of Ireland on Sunday.
Didier Deschamps’ side headed into their last-16 clash with Martin O’Neill’s team as firm favourites but made the match extremely hard for themselves at the Stade de Lyon.
Paul Pogba gave away a penalty inside two minutes to allow Robbie Brady the opportunity to score the quickest goal of the tournament, with France left with a mountain to climb against a team prepared to sit back and play on the counter.
Ireland held out until the break as France were resigned largely to shots from distance, forcing the Boys in Green’s back-line into only seven clearances between them in 45 minutes of lacklustre football from the hosts.
Deschamps introduced Kingsley Coman for N’Golo Kante in an attacking substitution for the second half and after turning it around to win 2-1, Griezmann has revealed that words said in the dressing room helped spur France on.
“We had a bad first half but a few things were said at half-time. It was stormy,” Griezmann said, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“In the second half, we were more like a team which wanted to fight until the end.”
Griezmann scored twice inside four minutes to take his tally to three for the tournament, also winning the free-kick which saw Shane Duffy sent off as the game fell away from Ireland.
France will play the winners of England vs. Iceland in the quarter-finals on Sunday in Paris but Deschamps will be without Kante and Adil Rami, both of whom will be serving suspensions after picking up bookings in the 2-1 win.
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